Improving phosphorus sustainability of sugarcane production in Brazil

Soltangheisi, Amin and Withers, Paul J. A. and Pavinato, Paulo Sergio and Cherubin, Maurício Roberto and Rossetto, Raffaella and Do Carmo, Janaina Braga and da Rocha, Gustavo Casoni and Martinelli, Luiz Antonio (2019) Improving phosphorus sustainability of sugarcane production in Brazil. GCB Bioenergy, 11 (12). pp. 1444-1455. ISSN 1757-1693

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Abstract

Phosphorus (P) use in global food and bioenergy production needs to become more efficient and sustainable to reduce environmental impacts and conserve a finite and critical resource (Carpenter & Bennett, Environmental Research Letters, 2011, 6, 014009; Springmann et al., Nature, 2018, 562, 519). Sugarcane is one crop with a large P footprint because production is centered on P-fixing soils with low P availability (Roy et al., Nature Plants, 2016, 2, 16043; Withers et al., Scientific Reports, 2018, 8, 2537). As global demand for processed sugar and bioethanol continues to increase, we advocate that improving P efficiency could become a key sustainability goal for the sugarcane industry. Here, we applied the 5R global P stewardship framework (Withers et al., Ambio, 2015, 44, 193) to identify more sustainable options to manage P in Brazilian sugarcane production. We show that current inputs of P fertilizer to the current crop area could be reduced by over 305 Gg, or 63%, over the next three decades by reducing unnecessary P fertilizer use, better utilization of recyclable bioresources and redesigning recommendation systems. Adoption of these 5R options would save the sugarcane industry in Brazil 528 US$ million and help safeguard global food and energy security.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
GCB Bioenergy
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1107
Subjects:
ID Code:
138135
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
22 Oct 2019 13:35
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
24 Nov 2020 08:03